Sandown voters tackle police station proposal
SANDOWN - Many voters agree that the police station is full of deficiencies, but the question is whether the time is right to build a new one.
Proposals to continue saving for a new station or construct a new building this year were among the warrant articles debated at Saturday's annual town deliberative session.
Approximately 50 voters, including town officials, attended the meeting to discuss the warrant before final votes are cast in March.
Voters made only a few changes to the proposed articles. One article seeking $5,000 to support a regional emergency shelter program in Derry for local homeless families was lowered to $2,000 while an article asking voters to place $324 from an unreserved fund balance into a plowing trust fund was zeroed out.
This year's warrant includes a proposal to add $200,000 into a fund set up a few years ago to save money for a new police station over a five-year period, but voters will also have to decide whether to move ahead with a $945,000 plan to build this year, using $540,500 in the fund and raising another $404,500 in taxes.
Police Chief Joseph Gordon asked voters to consider the new station this year to avoid a higher price tag down the road as building costs continue to climb each year.
"Do you want to spend a little bit more now to save more later?" Gordon asked.
If approved this year, the tax bill on a $250,000 would increase by about $170. If voters agree to add the $200,000 to the fund and hold off this year, the impact would be $85.
Budget committee member Dawn Nicolaisen said she felt it would be better to add the $200,000 to make it more affordable for voters this year, but others felt the time was right.
"I think it's time. … This department needs their own building and space that is going to work well and efficiently," resident Barbara Lachance said.
Selectman Tom Tombarello, board vice chairman, encouraged voters to visit the police department's website to view a virtual tour of the current station.
"It's pretty embarrassing," he said. "But more than embarrassing, it's a safety issue."